It’s All In The Game: Philly’s Fix

All Star Break is a wrap and we are now heading down the

final stretch of the season. With playoff positioning and berths on the line,

every game is crucial.


Especially in the Eastern Conference where several teams

have the potential to steal the last playoff spots.


It’s that close.


Let’s face it, the East is weak. It is the only conference

where the last three sports in the playoffs can be taken by teams with losing

records. It is so weak, the disastrous New York Knicks have a very realistic

chance to be playing ball in late April.


As of Thursday, the Atlanta Hawks own the eight spot with a

record of 21-28. But Philadelphia,

Chicago and Indiana are all just

half a game behind from stealing that spot. Milwaukee, Charlotte and New York are

within striking distance if one of those teams has a bad week.


Right now you have to say the favorite out of this group is Atlanta. With the

acquisition of Mike Bibby, they are by far the toughest group of the teams

mentioned. If I were to pick one team that could challenge the Hawks for the

eight-seed, I would have to go with Philly.


After trading A.I. last year and Kyle Korver this year, it

seemed like the Sixers were focusing more on rebuilding than trying to win now.

But believe it or not, these scrappy, superstar-less Sixers squad is playing

some good ball. They’ve won seven of their last 10 games, including quality

wins over Orlando and Dallas.


You have to tip your hat off to Mo Cheeks who is getting a

lot out of this group. On paper, the Sixers should really have Miami’s record – so 23-31 is impressive. For

one, Philadelphia

does not have a legitimate star on the team. Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller

are good players, but they are not franchise players. What they do have, are

hard-nosed players who scrap and grind their way to wins.


The way they play and the type of players they have, reminds

me a little of past players they used to have like Aaron McKie, Eric Snow and

Mutombo. Willie Green has bounced back from a devastating knee injury a few

years ago to be the team’s third option and Samuel Dalembert is the new Mutombo

– rebounding, blocking shots and playing D.


Louis Williams contributing nicely off the bench, averaging

an impressive 10.8 points and 3.3 assists in just 22 minutes of action a night.

He is still very raw, but to me, I see a lot of Monta Ellis in him and believe

he will break out in the next few years – he’s that nice. Andre Miller’s 16 and

6 have been solid and the team’s other Andre (Iguodala) is slowly getting

better ever since he became the team’s first option after A.I. left.


With around 30-games left, the Sixers have a good chance to

play this postseason – but they will have to play a little more consistent.

Their season has been sporadic, they’ll go on a win streak, and then they’ll

drop seven straight, like they did at the beginning of January.


They also have to get better on the road, where they are

9-17. Half of their remaining games are away games, so they cannot afford to

keep losing away from home – especially to teams like Minnesota, a game they

lost by 16 last Wednesday night.


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